How to Hit From the Sand

By Teresa Justine Kelly

Drilling a golf ball into a bunker would normally strike terror into the hearts of many amateur golfers. Oddly enough, the bunker shot is one of the most forgiving strokes in golf. By learning a few simple steps on how to hit from the sand, you can successfully escape from a bunker with confidence. These rules are appropriate for standard green-side bunkers rather than fairway bunkers.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy
Step 1
Take a wider-than-normal stance, with your feet turned outward. The wide stance allows you to keep your body still as you take your backswing. Your stance should also be open so that the alignment of your shoulders, hips and feet aim at 10 o'clock on a clock face, with the flag being 12 o'clock, promoting an out-to-in swing path.
Step 2
Position the ball slightly forward from center, with your hands behind the ball.
Step 3
Slightly open the face of your sand wedge. Imagine again, the flag is at 12 o'clock on the face of a clock. Turn the club so that it would face 2 o'clock. The open club will facilitate the large flange at the bottom of the sand wedge more efficiently, making the club slide more easily under the ball.
Step 4
Position yourself slightly further away from the ball than you would for a regular pitch shot. This will allow your hands to be placed low at address and allow you also to cock your wrists earlier in your backswing.
Step 5
Shuffle your feet into the sand and bend your knees for stability. Keep your weight on the front foot throughout the swing.
Step 1
Taking a three-quarter backswing, hinge your wrists. Keep your head and lower body very still.
Step 2
Keep your club along the open body lines you established at address. Hit 1 to 2 inches behind the ball and accelerate through, letting the sand bring the ball out on a slight out-to-in swing path. The flange of the sand wedge should hit the sand first. Don't use too much hand motion since you are trying to keep the face of the club open at impact.
Step 3
Turn your body toward the hole and follow through. Finish with your weight on the front foot.

Tips & Warnings

Practice in the bunkers at the driving range. Draw a line in the sand, place your ball about 2 inches in front of the line and practice hitting the line in the sand while sliding the ball out of the bunker with your sand wedge. Some visual golfers find it helpful to imagine that the ball is teed up in the trap and they are trying to slice the tee from under the ball. This visualization helps you to release through the sand behind the ball and propel the ball out of the bunker.
Practice in the bunkers at the driving range. Draw a line in the sand, place your ball about 2 inches in front of the line and practice hitting the line in the sand while sliding the ball out of the bunker with your sand wedge.
Some visual golfers find it helpful to imagine that the ball is teed up in the trap and they are trying to slice the tee from under the ball. This visualization helps you to release through the sand behind the ball and propel the ball out of the bunker.
Acceleration and follow-through are most important; otherwise, you'll leave the ball behind in the bunker. Don't scoop the ball with your club and your body. Trust the flange of the club to help propel the ball out of the bunker.
Acceleration and follow-through are most important; otherwise, you'll leave the ball behind in the bunker.
Don't scoop the ball with your club and your body. Trust the flange of the club to help propel the ball out of the bunker.

About The Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.

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